Sunday, October 11, 2015

Rick and Morty

  Imagine if you had a cartoon about Doc Brown and Marty McFly... that took the formula of the Honey I Shrunk the Kids TV show, and then ripped all the plots and stories out of Charlie Sheen's mind after he spent a full day binging shows like Fringe and Doctor Who on Netflix. Then you'd have a vague approximation of the amazingness that is Rick and Morty. In my humble opinion, it's the only thing to catch my eye that's come out of Adult Swim in ages. With the possible exception of Black Dynamite and whatever the hell they do with Toonami these days. I also can't pretend like I keep tabs much on Adult Swim. Every so often someone shoves a youtube clip in front of my face, and what I see is just... inert. It's not funny, but it thinks it is.

  Or maybe it just doesn't appeal to me. The only stuff that graced the Adult Swim programming block that I had genuine interest in, was not indigenous to the network. Cowboy Bebop, Dragon Ball Z, Ghost in the Shell- y'know... sci-fi anime stuff. So when my good and very wise buddy RJ kept suggesting I watch Rick and Morty, I was skeptical- and then even more skeptical when I realized it was an Adult Swim show. It took me well over a year to work up enough will power to give enough of a shit to bother giving the show a shot. Just a shot. Now I regret not taking him at his word a lot sooner. Because this show is the tits, as the kids say these days. And lets face it...

  We all like tits.

  Rick and Morty almost defies explanation, but it is many things and all deserving of a good word or two (hundred). I'd say first and foremost, it's a sci-fi show. The main characters casually stroll through inter-dimensional portals, chat with aliens, and fight fascist intergalactic governments. And those are all common occurrences. This is a big space faring sci-fi romp with the craziest most far out concepts you can think of, and then some that are very familiar but just spun with a new twist. There's an episode which directly references Inception, and makes good use of the reference too. But I won't spoil anymore, moving on.

  Using science fiction as a jumping-off point, the show is also chiefly a comedy. Morty is your average, nervous, pubescent, anxiety ridden, 14 year old high school kid, who's grandpa, Rick, just happens to be a crazy, narcissistic, selfish, asshole-ish version of Doc Brown from Back to the Future. I mean, that set up alone is a primed for a ton of jokes- but whatever you could imagine, the show goes above and beyond. Even in it's weakest episode, it still has a ton of genuine laughs and excitement. This is where the show is also an honest to goodness adventure show. All the characters in the show are aware when they're going on an adventure, and it's talked about ad nauseum.

  Grandpa rick obviously plays favorites between his two grandkids, Morty and his sister Summer- because, y'know. Boys rule. (I mean, not like the title of the show gave that away or anything) but the entire cast of characters is utilized. One of my favorite plots in the show actually had little to do with Rick or Morty, but instead had to do with Morty's parents. Intergalactic couple's therapy anyone? All the characters are exceptionally well written and are a delight to watch. Rick and Morty especially have a great dynamic. At times you're convinced they hate each other, but the show goes out of it's way on more than one occasion to show that all these characters genuinely care about each other.

  Honestly, that's pretty unique. Most zany, "edgy", animated comedy shows with a sitcom vibe have the meanest most cruel humor, and often dished out between family members. Family Guy is a perfect example. It's just mean spirited humor most of the time. Rick and Morty toes the line, but manages to find a balance being mean... but good-natured. Never mean spirited. It has characters who are selfish assholes, but inside they have a good heart- even if they don't want anyone to know. The show is wall to wall dark comedy, but it's also irreverent and rather emotional at times.

  Some shows take years to work up enough plot and character development to introduce a dramatic emotional moment that will shock it's audience and make us realize how much we care about the characters. Rick and Morty manages to do that inside a single season. Possibly multiple times. To say nothing of season 2 - holy shit. There's some weak episodes where the jokes fall shy of being side-splitting, or the plot is not mind-bendingly amazing- but these are far and few in-between. Most of the time Rick and Morty is a hilarious show with well written, adult oriented humor, plenty of far out, sci-fi hijinks, tons of nerd culture references (done properly), well developed characters, and some impressive animation. Consider me a fan, and color me excited beyond belief for season 3.

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